Irish grass-fed beef is to be granted special recognition by the European Commission for its characteristics and geographical origin.
The commission is in the final stage of granting Protected Geographical Indication (PGI) status, which has been passed with no objections.
The recognition will apply to naturally grazing cattle in both Northern Ireland and the Republic.
It is a special assurance applying to all 32 counties.
Several Northern Ireland-based foods, such as Comber potatoes and Lough Neagh eels already have PGI recognition.
At the time of the Republic of Ireland’s application for ‘Irish Grass-Fed Beef’, Stormont’s former agriculture minister Edwin Poots had asked his counterpart in the Republic to ensure Northern Ireland farmers benefited too.
The commission has advised the application’s final stage of adoption and publication should be completed by mid-December.
The Republic’s agriculture minister, Charlie McConalogue, welcomed the “tremendous news” in a statement.
“[This] is a huge endorsement of the qualities and sustainability of our grass-fed beef,” he said.
“I also acknowledge the efforts of our colleagues in the UK and Northern Ireland and the joint applicant the Livestock and Meat Commission who participated in helping to make this an all-island application,” he continued.
“A PGI status for Irish Grass-Fed Beef will help to bring enhanced recognition of the sustained efforts and know-how of our farmers and processors to produce a quality grass-fed beef product.
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